Despite all my talk about having too much inspiration spinning round my head, I had a moment of lunchtime eebaay insanity last week and pounced upon a mystery bundle of sewing patterns in their last few seconds. The photo was indistinct, the description unpromising, but I just had a good feeling about this lot. And boy, oh boy, has that instinct paid off!
Yesterday I took delivery of a cardboard box containing 30 paper patterns, predominantly from the late 1960's / early 1970's. Some are still in their factory folds, while others have clearly been cut and then carefully refolded in their envelopes. Call me an old romantic, but I have pieced together their previous owner's life story.
Janet was married in 1965 and sewed her own wedding dress. Not an inch of bare flesh was on display that day: she was keeping all her secrets for her husband. They honeymooned in Southend. She made all the dresses for her trousseau and was so proud as they strode arm-in-arm along the pier!
Before her marriage, she had a little office job and liked to keep up with the latest fashions. She met her husband-to-be at the tennis court in the local park. He was such a tease! What a lovely young man!
It was a fine life. Her husband was making good money at the factory and they managed to go abroad once a year on holiday: somewhere nice and sunny like Spain. She liked to have a new dress or two in her suitcase every summer. Once, she even made Himself a jacket for his holidays - oh he did look smart! It was lovely to have a family to sew for.
And the years passed.
Then one day, her elder daughter said "You used to sew, didn't you Mum? I was just saying to our Tracey, remember those matching dresses we used to have? One red and one blue? I just can't imagine our kids wanting to look the same! But we were so pleased with our Sunday Best frocks, with our hair in ribbons and you in your suit... you made that yourself too didn't you?"
And Janet thought: "You know, so I did! I used to make all my own clothes and I was always the smartest girl in the office. I might just look and see if that old sewing machine still works. I could run up a couple of outfits for our anniversary cruise and save myself a fortune! Yes, I might just do that!"
And she did.
Then Tracey asked if she could make her some cushions for the new house?
And Sharon wondered if she could maybe help with costumes for the school nativity play?
So she did.
But her grandchildren burst into tears and refused to wear the outfits she had slaved over all weekend.
And then she said "Never again! It's time you girls learned to sew for your own selves! I'm too old for this!" And she gave her sewing machine to the church car boot sale.
After Janet was left a widow, she decided it was time to move out of the city and move to a little bungalow in Southend. She left it to her daughters to clear out the old house - too many memories.